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March 15, 2021
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JP O'Hare

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Board of Regents Acts to Adopt Revisions to State Learning Standards for Languages Other Than English

Regulation Amendment Also Proposed to Rename to World Languages; Public Comment to be Accepted Through May 31

The Board of Regents today acted to adopt revisions to the New York State Learning Standards for Languages Other Than English (LOTE), Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced. The revisions will align the standards with high-leverage practices and update them to represent what students should know and be able to do in the languages and cultures which they study. The Department presented regulation changes to rename the learning standards from LOTE to “World Languages.” Public comment on the proposed changes will be accepted through May 31.

“The Board recognizes the importance of engaging students’ interest in world languages, especially given our increasingly diverse state and connections around world,” Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said. “We are updating our Language Other Than English standards to bring them into the 21st century. The feedback we received from across the state has been overwhelmingly positive, and these revisions will help provide the high-quality education every New York student deserves.”

“Throughout the collaborative process of updating these standards, we listened to valuable input from an array of stakeholders, and we will continue to work with our partners as the revised standards are implemented to ensure they are working for all our children,” Commissioner Rosa said. “The learning standards have been updated to ensure that students will learn the importance of appreciating other cultures and find success in our global economy. The Department is dedicated to providing professional learning, resources, and guidance documents to prepare our educators for these much-needed changes.”

Overview of the Updated LOTE Standards

The New York State Learning Standards for Languages Other Than English are divided into two language groups: Modern Languages and Classical Languages. Modern languages include any language that has living, native speakers. Modern languages are contrasted with Classical languages, which include Latin, ancient Greek, ancient Hebrew, and other languages from earlier time periods in human history.

These updated learning standards for both Modern and Classical Languages are organized into two anchor standards: Communication and Cultures. The Communication Anchor Standard for all languages is broken down into three Standards—one for each mode of communication:

  • the Interpretive Communication standard;
  • the Interpersonal Communication standard; and
  • the Presentational Communication standard.

The Cultures Anchor Standard is broken down into two Standards: the Relating Cultural Practices and Products to Perspectives standard and the Cultural Comparisons standard.

The resulting revised NYS Learning Standards for World Languages are well-aligned to the national World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages, developed by the ACTFL (formerly the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages), and represent what students should know and be able to do in the languages and cultures which they study.

Unlike the standards of other disciplines, the NYS Learning Standards for World Languages are not grade-banded, but instead are grouped into three proficiency ranges that correspond to the World Language Checkpoints (A, B, C) that reflect levels of achievement students must reach, generally over the course of two years of study each.

Students meet the standards by demonstrating proficiency at the levels consistent with the lower end of the range for each Checkpoint. This demonstration of proficiency generally occurs by the end of 8th grade for Checkpoint A, by the end of 10th grade for Checkpoint B, and by the end of 12th grade for Checkpoint C. The full learning standards may be found on the Department’s website.

LOTE Standards Review and Revision Process and Stakeholder Input

The Department established the World Language Leadership Team (now called the World Language Content Advisory Panel), consisting of 20 leaders and experts in the fields of language acquisition and world language teacher preparation, in 2018 to assist in the standards revision process.

The Department developed the proposed revisions to the NYS LOTE Standards in partnership with numerous stakeholders, including the World Language Content Advisory Panel and ten Standards Review Committees made up of seven regional committees and three Language-Specific Committees (American Sign Language, Classical Languages, and Indigenous Languages) with over 200 members.

Care was taken to ensure participation by representatives of all regions of New York State, as well as key stakeholder groups, including:

  • teachers and administrators;
  • experts in the field;
  • parents and students;
  • higher education faculty;
  • BOCES and Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBERN) staff;
  • Big 5 school districts; and
  • members of various professional organizations, including the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers (NYSAFLT), the New York State Association of World Language Administrators (NYSAWLA), and the New York State Association for Bilingual Education (NYSABE).

From May 2019 to February 2020, the committees met six times to draft recommended revisions to the NYS Learning Standards for World Languages.

Proposal to Rename Standards “New York State Standards for World Languages”

The regulation changes proposed by the Department include to:

  • Rename the standards to “New York State Standards for World Languages,” which amends Commissioner’s regulations to replace the term “languages other than English” with “world languages” in reference to the learning standards, pathway assessment, and course credit; 
  • Rename teaching certificate titles, as well as certification and teacher preparation program coursework requirements from “language(s) other than English” to “world language(s) other than English,” and the tenure title of “Foreign Languages” to “World Languages”; 
  • Amend references to the term “foreign languages” throughout Commissioner’s regulations to read “world languages” or “world languages other than English,” as applicable; and
  • Clarifying that teachers currently in the foreign languages tenure area would now be in the world languages tenure area, and any prior service in the foreign languages tenure area is included toward service in the renamed world languages tenure area.

Feedback Process

The Department released the proposed standards revisions to the public in February 2020, along with a survey that gathered feedback from more than 1,100 individual stakeholders across New York State.

The vast majority of respondents expressed strong support for all proposed revisions. Of the responses received, 94 percent indicated that they either moderately or strongly supported the revised standards overall, with 93 percent specifically supporting the name change.

Timetable for Roll-out and Implementation




Adoption – Aug. 2023

Phase I - Raising Awareness and Building Capacity

Roll-out and building awareness of the revised standards and timeline for implementation; professional learning opportunities to prepare schools to transition to the revised standards

Sept. 2023 – Aug. 2028

Phase II – Gradual Implementation and Building Capacity

Focus on curriculum development, resource acquisition, professional learning

Sept. 2028 and on

Phase III – Full Implementation and Sustainability

All P-12 World Language courses will be aligned with NYS Learning Standards for World Languages (as renamed from LOTE); New York State Seal of Biliteracy programs will be aligned with the revised standards

Next Steps

Department staff will continue to develop resources and guidance to aid the field in implementing the standards in accordance with the implementation timeline.

A Notice of Proposed Rule Making will be published in the State Register on March 31 for a 60-day public comment period on the proposal to rename the standards to “New York State Standards for World Languages” in accordance with the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA). Public comment will be accepted through May 31. Following the 60-day public comment period, Department staff will make a recommendation to the Board of Regents this summer to adopt the proposed regulatory change.